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Old 01-18-2013, 09:28 AM   #76
bigdon
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You should be able to find gas every 100 miles or so until Del Rio.
Then Langtry, Sanderson, Marathon, Alpine, and Marfa.
Don't leave Presidio without gas.
When going to Big Bend gas is available in Study Butte, Panther Junction,and Rio Grande Village.
Keep top half of tank full and you should be alright.

Richard Gibbens has some really good Ride Guides vor the Big Bend and Hill country areas.
They are available here http://texasadventure.net/cool-stuff/ride-guides

Have fun!
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:42 AM   #77
exoff-roadgoat
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The national park lodge in BB looked like a nice place to stay. It's in the mountains and is in the most scenic part of the park. Nice motel in Study Butte too.

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Old 01-18-2013, 06:33 PM   #78
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Presidential Libraries

Given your penchant for history I''d have suggested visiting the George Bush and LBJ libraries which are totally cool. But, alas, you've moved on past.

Really enjoying your detailed and well imaged observations. Keep it up!
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:26 PM   #79
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WNWT Day 11

Woke up to 33 degrees and sunny in New Braunfels on Thursday. Pieced together breakfast from the hotel spread. Snugged up the chain on the Triumph a bit. It was warming up quickly so I tempted fate and packed away my jacket liner and heavy gloves. Yeah, I'm crazy.

Rode up through Gruene. All you non-Texans, how do you reckon it's pronounced? My understanding is you pronounce it "green". I had guessed about 11 other variations, and none of them were "green". Gruene is a neat old town built on a bluff looking over the Gruene river. They had a riverside grill I would have checked out if it had been closer to lunchtime. This is their 'landmark' building. It's the oldest continuously run dancehall in Texas. Willie Nelson, George Strait, and many others have played here.


My destination for the day was Port Aransas. As I looked at the map, I saw I could make it an "Independence" ride and go through a couple of significant sites... Gonzales and Goliad. First stop was Seguin though. Named after Juan Seguin, he was probably the last guy to leave the Alamo as he rode off to try and get reinforcements. He went on to fight in several other battles, became a senator, etc. He's buried in Seguin. I stopped and saw the tomb, which is on a hillside next to the fairgrounds. I guess any day is a good day for rodeo...


As I rode toward Gonzales, I went through the 3 house town of Belmont and noticed an unusual amount of cars at the Belmont Social Club. That's a good sign. Hmm. I could eat.


This is the forensic evidence of one of the best bbq sandwiches I've had. She asked if I wanted the brisket sliced or chopped. I said chopped, which in the end, made the sandwich really close to a Sloppy Joe type consistency. Dang it was good.


Gonzales is recognized as the first "battle" of the Texas War for Independence. The Mexican army came to take a cannon they had given the town for protection against indians and the towns people wouldn't give it back. They whipped up a snazzy flag for the confrontation, ended up firing the cannon at the Mexican troops (possibly by accident), wounded one Mexican soldier, and then the Mexicans retreated. So Texas won the first battle.


Goliad on the other hand is the site of the "Goliad Massacre". A group of Texans fought nearby and had to surrender, they were marched back to Goliad as POWs. They were being taken care of when word came down from the Mexican general to execute them all. About 300 of them were marched out and executed. I really didn't have any stops planned for Goliad per se. I rode through town and crossed the San Antonio river where I briefly considered whether a loogey hawked along the river walk in San Antonio would have beat me to this spot or not. Not that I did...

Then sweet baby jesus I came up more historical importance.


Presidio La Bahia. It's actually a fort and not a mission, although it has this church for the soldiers stationed here. This location was one of the most fought over forts through several wars. Luckily though, it's still in really good condition and was never turned into a warehouse or a Walgreens for awhile. The Catholic Church has always owned. All the walls and the buildings are there. Very cool to walk around this place...

Keeping watch over my Triumph in the parking lot:










Monument to the massacred soldiers


The ride had been rolling hills with sweeping curves, but shortly after Goliad, I saw the speed limit sign go to 75mph so guessed the terrain was about to get flat and the road straight. Good guess on my part. The 800 has a super-sweet spot right at 81 on the speedo which is about 77-78 on my GPS. Rev Theory's song "Hell Yeah" came up in my playlist, sun was warm and shining and it was a great run on into Port Aransas.

Port Aransas, or "Port A" as the locals call it is a neat town on the north end of the Padre barrier island. I didn't realize it, but to get to Port A you have to take a ferry. It was a slick set up though. Free of charge and you just pulled up just like you're at a stoplight, next thing you know, you're on the ferry and headed across the channel. I don't think I've been on a ferry on the bike before and it was a bit of a weird feeling having the boat move while you mentally thought you were sitting still.

Ferry headed back to the mainland and the pilot house:




Port A reminds me of most beach type towns... like a smaller Daytona Beach. Took a short ride up the beach as the sun was setting behind me.


You can park and spend the night on the beach free for 3 nights a month and there were several RV's parked right off the side of the beach road. Pretty cool. Later on a heard a guy telling how he's figured out how to stay out there pretty much all the time and lives on $10,000 a year but didn't get all the details... "I live in a van... down on the beach..."

It's been dry in Texas and apparently land sharks are becoming a real problem...



Found an ok place to stay and went for food at a seafood place called Castaways since it seemed to have the most cars in the lot. Well, I think it's the early bird specials pulling in the customers. Lots of snowbirds down here. And when I say snowbird, that means oldsters. Food was just ok. Walked out and heard some live music coming from the "Tarpon Ice House" across the street so walked over there for a beer. The band was the "Free Beer Band". Ingenious name. Noticed it on the sign as I left later... you mentally read it as "Free Beer, Band".


Nice day of relaxing riding. Started to get some bugs splattering on the windshield and passed guys mowing the ditches (been a while since I smelled cut grass)... I do believe I've escaped winter. One more days ride and I'll seal the deal.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:46 PM   #80
exoff-roadgoat
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Yes, pronounced green. Port A has alot of restaurants but nothing special. The good ones are back down the road in Rockport....Snoopys under the bridge before you cross over to Corpus usually has good grub....
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:54 PM   #81
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Sleeping Mexican

I'm amazed you didn't strap the medal sleeping Mexican to the passenger seat on the bike OR ups him home!! At least if you mailed him, I'd have some company on these cold nights
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:51 AM   #82
mxjudge
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Been 24 years since I was in Port Aransas but looks just like I remember it. The oldsters were younger though.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:39 PM   #83
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I'm amazed you didn't strap the medal sleeping Mexican to the passenger seat on the bike OR ups him home!! At least if you mailed him, I'd have some company on these cold nights
Careful what you post on ADV Miss GF... you my end up with a rally at your place.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:39 AM   #84
exoff-roadgoat
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Come on man! Bring us up to speed.....You've only got a week left to get to San Diego and meet up with the sweet thang.... I hope your not stuck in S Texas? I see the weather in the deep south is going to be great this week.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:52 AM   #85
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WNWT Day 12

Woke up Friday to mid-50's and great sunshine in Port Aransas. Hotel lobby breakfast, packed up, and ready to roll. Did a loop around Port A to see it better in the light, then dropped down onto the beach and cruised the sand until one of the last accesses to get off. Port A has a really wide nice beach that goes a long way down the island.





There is a highway that then runs south down the spine of the island to the harbor at Corpus Christi. The dunes are tall on the gulf side so really not much in the way of views as you run down the pavement. Up and over the channel bridge and into Corpus Christi. At this point I have quite the dilemma. The USS Lexington, a WWII aircraft carrier is at CC. I know however, that if I go there, it's probably a whole day event (at least for me). My goal was to get to South Padre early enough to see a little bit of the island before nightfall in case I move on the next day. I decide that if I see an easy exit to get to the Lex that I'll at least go see it from the dock and get a pic. The Girlfriend and I will likely go tour the USS Midway while we're in San Diego so I'll get my floating airport fix then.

Never saw any signage for Lex so rolled through CC and angled south. I'm sure there's more to see in CC than what I did off of 358 and 665 but all I saw was strip malls and gas stations for the most part rolling through that part of town.

South of Corpus Christi, as I angled SW to get to hiway 77 that would take me down to Padre, the terrain was super flat. You know the optical illusion where land along the horizon looks like it's under water? I've never seen that as much as I did right through there. I was on one stretch of road for probably 20 miles that I swear didn't have a single straight utility pole. I don't know if they get wind through there or if the soil won't hold the poles straight, but they were angled every which way like a bad set of snaggle teeth. Should have taken a pic.

The weather was perfect, getting into the low 70's as I made my way down 77. I pulled off in Kingsville for gas, rode into the King Ranch, decided not to do the tour, but walked through the museum instead. Interesting history and an amazing operation. After being in the corporate world, it makes me wonder what strategy, planning, and "status" meetings looked like on the ranch, especially back in say the 30's or 40's. I'm sure it runs not that much differently than any other corporation now. I'd never put it together that the "King Ranch Edition" Ford pickups you see running around are actually named for a real ranch.

Easy ride south from Kingsville. Although the maps are deceiving... I kept seeing signs with mileage left to South Padre and looking at the map and my GPS and it sure didn't look like it would be as much.

Around Raymondsville, saw one of the biggest electric windmill farms I've seen outside of the Midwest.

Turned back east and started running through marshes with short stretches along bays off the gulf. Through Port Isabel, over the big bridge and landed in South Padre. At least for me, one of my favorite things is a warm sunny day, riding the bike, with a large body of water as the backdrop. Was really feeling good. As I went over the bridge, they had several warning signs about the pelicans. I was looking off into the channel and could see several floating around. One looked different though and kept disappearing. As I got closer, I saw that it was a dolphin swimming alongside the bridge. I'm not sure I've seen a dolphin before, so more goodness. The place I was staying was easy to find and my host met me at the gate to let me into his condo parking lot. 217 miles for the day.

My host for the night, Doug, is the brother-in law of a girl (Beth) I worked with at Principal Financial. She knew I was going to be wandering around Texas and reached out to see if Doug would mind a fellow Iowan stopping by for a night. It really warms my heart and gives me faith in the human condition to see generosity like this. Other than a couple of quick phone calls, Doug had never met me before I pulled through the gate, yet opened his home and donated his time to me. We hit it off immediately, we found we have a lot in common, and I had a great time in South Padre. I can't thank Doug and Beth enough.

After settling in, we took off for the Pier 19 restaurant which sits, as you might guess, on a pier. The pier however used to be the island end of the old bridge/road that connected the mainland with the island before the built the new arched bridge.

I went with Doug's suggestion and got the pan-grilled Grouper with Ponchatrain sauce. Oh my. Not sure I've had grouper before or not. It was fantastic and went perfectly with the Blue Moon.



We did a loop through a park as the sun set and saw several dolphins swimming around. I'd say there was 7-10 of them right there. Most by themselves, one pair was synchronized as they swam across the cove. One was only about 30 feet off the shore. Neat to be that close. No great pictures of them, but if you squint and use your good eye, you can see them out there.





And the sun disappears over the channel...


Feeling guilty because I know The Girlfriend was absolutely love this place...
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Thanks to my 2014 Sponsor: Motorex
What Next Wander Tour http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=853663

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Old 01-21-2013, 06:54 AM   #86
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OH YES.... TEXAS IS BIG SAYS 971. AND THEN THERE IS THAT 50mph SPEED LIMIT IN BBEND TO CONTEND WITH. Hope he leaves a little time for NM and AZ too.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:00 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by exoff-roadgoat View Post
Come on man! Bring us up to speed.....You've only got a week left to get to San Diego and meet up with the sweet thang.... I hope your not stuck in S Texas? I see the weather in the deep south is going to be great this week.
Riding and having fun all day makes Kelly a tired boy at night! I'm a little behind on my updates. I couldn't help staying in South Padre for two nights, then yesterday had a good day of riding and ended up back at my favorite little motel in Fredericksburg. Sometimes going back to a sure thing is nice. Letting it warm up a few degrees before heading for Fort Davis today. Probably do a loop through at least part of Big Bend tomorrow. You're right, I'm running out of time... oh well, I've got to get back to Iowa somehow so can catch things on the way back too...
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:02 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by buls4evr View Post
OH YES.... TEXAS IS BIG SAYS 971. AND THEN THERE IS THAT 50mph SPEED LIMIT IN BBEND TO CONTEND WITH. Hope he leaves a little time for NM and AZ too.
Yeah it's big!!! And since you've volunteered to be my guide in New Mexico, I'm not going to miss that!
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:08 AM   #89
selkins
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Originally Posted by Evomx971 View Post
So far, this is the main cactus I've been seeing. It's been thick ever since I got south of Dallas. Apparently it's very good food and at least at one time, the ranchers would walk around with flame throwers to burn off the needles so the cows could eat it and not get hurt.
That cactus is prickly pear. If you find any ripe fruit on it (a deep purple color), give this a try: Pick off the fruit using some leather gloves, as it has lots of almost invisible needles on it. Use a lighter to give it a scorch all around to burn those off. Then either peel it or just halve it and eat the stuff inside. Very tasty - kind of like a kiwi in flavor, but a beautiful deep red/purple color. Another thing folks do is peel several of them, and then pour a bunch of tequila over them and leave it to sit overnight. Makes some beautiful margaritas.

The paddles aren't just good for cattle. If you stop in an authentic Mexican restaurant, look for nopales on the menu.

A little more trivia: Gruene is a rough spelling of the German word for green. That part of Texas, along with New Braunfels area, were settling spots for German immigrants, who poured into Texas in the mid to late 1800s.

Hehe, as you can probably tell, I'm enjoying your RR. As a native Texan who has lived away for 20+ years, it's great fun to follow along as someone "discovers" the state.
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:52 AM   #90
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Great reading another 'escapee's' report. As to the 'Texas is big' thang, man, u are not going to believe how big. The 80mph freeways help get u across it but it is STILL big.
Like me, u are prolly routinely gazing at the weather reports, wondering what you may or may not have to be riding into. For a heads up it looks like the slow moving high that has finally brought warming temps to the Southern Arizona area is slowly pushing east and may give you pleasant riding conditions. But you've got a long way to go before then so who knows what the crazy weather will do. They say Mexico is warmer.
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